Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2013

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Oral Science

First Advisor

Brogden, Kim A

First Committee Member

Wertz, Philip W

Second Committee Member

Johnson, Georgia K


Sphingoid bases (sphingosine, dihydrosphingosine and phytosphingosine) have been recently found in the oral cavity where they may serve to fortify innate immunity against commensals and periodontal pathogens. In fact, sphingoid bases have potent antimicrobial activity against Gram- positive and Gram- negative bacteria including oral pathogens like Porphyromonas gingivalis. It is not known whether these lipids are cytotoxic or alter the chemokine and cytokine responses of human dendritic cells, a finding important to their future potential as a therapeutic for treatment of periodontal disease.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the effects of sphingoid bases on the cytotoxicity and cytokine responses of human myeloid dendritic cells.

Methods: Dendritic cells were treated with sphingoid bases (0.2-80.0 μM) for 16 hours in the presence or absence of 0.02 μM hemagglutinin B, a nonfimbrial adhesin of P. gingivalis used as a pro-inflammatory stimulus. The cytotoxicity of the inocula and its ability to induce the production of chemokines and pro-inflammatory cytokines was determined after 16 hours.

Results: Higher concentrations of sphingoid bases were cytotoxic (e.g., 40.0-80.0 μM), but physiologic concentrations of sphingoid bases (e.g., 0.2-20.0 μM) were not. At 5, 10, or 20 μM, sphingosine did not enhance or attenuate any HagB-induced IL-8, GM-CSF, MIP-1α, MIP-1β, or TNFα response of human myeloid dendritic cells. At 5 or 10 μM, neither phytosphingosine nor dihydrosphingosine enhanced or attenuated any HagB- induced IL-8, GM-CSF, MIP-1α, MIP-1β, or TNFα response of human myeloid dendritic cells.

Conclusion: Sphingoid bases exhibit dose-dependent cytotoxicity and cytokine responses against human myeloid dendritic cells. But at physiologic concentrations sphingoid bases appear to be safe and efficacious at the doses needed to prevent or treat microbial infections in the oral cavity.


chemokines, cytokines, dendritic cells, sphingoid bases, sphingolipids


viii, 72 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 66-72).


Copyright 2013 Leslie Ann Mehalick